The holidays bring together family, friends, frenemies, and people who sometimes just don't see one another often. For some it can feel like a game of 20 questions or like a quiz that is going to rate your year of success. Holiday interaction does not have to feel so intense and there are ways to stay mindful during these interactions so you can project your best-self without having to answer everyone's questions. I am often speaking about the need to throw away the trash talk and here are specific ways to stir clear of opening that verbal can of rotten spam during this holiday session.
Let go of Expectations. we all have this picture of how holidays should be and if you watch the hallmark station this time of year, feelings maybe in overdrive on how this year is gonna be the year to make it right with those who have wronged you or you have wronged. Tension and stress bleeds into the holiday even before you have seen anyone. These feelings can stop you from walking into the room or leaving your house. The body will negatively react to that type of stress and anguish. Instead, let go of hope. Push the hope that everything will be perfect out of your mind. Take a breath. Hot damn, take several deep breaths and distract your mind from mending the perfect relationship, cooking the perfect meal or being the perfect host. Keep an inner calm by focusing on what is right in front of you in the present moment, enjoy silence.
Know Your Boundaries and Limits. Yes, lots of us go to other people's houses and lots of us host family in our homes. Just because we are around other people it doesn't mean that every aspect of our space must be invaded. If you have a room that no one should be in, block it off. If you have a specific time you need to go to bed, go. If you want to take a walk or a drive or need space, take it. There will always be people that you may feel uncomfortable around, be OK saying "Please, excuse me I have to... (go to the bathroom, the other room, outside)." You are not captive and you cannot keep anyone else captive during this festive season. If the atmosphere gets intense or you start to feel uncomfortable take the space that you need to feel at ease. Again, take a deep breath.
No One Can Control Anyone Else. Let go of judging yourself and others. We start asking one another 20 questions because we are genuinely interested in the people around us. Unfortunately, because we are competitive creatures that interest can turn into judgement and the need to give advise. Asking questions can create great conversations but keep the advise to yourself. Don't take on other people's feelings and problems, be an open ear but not a sponge. You cannot control what other people ask, say or do during this holiday season and trust me, you don't want to. The boundaries and limits that you set can only be respected when you respect the space of the people around you.
Move, Give Space. It is OK to leave. To keep our boundaries it was mentioned that you have to be OK with excusing yourself from a situation or a room. Even if you are not in the midst of a conflict it is still important to take the space you need to be yourself. Take a 30 minute walk or drive, go to the store or a gas station. Sit where no one else is. This space is necessary to reground yourself in a calm space. Recenter the peace within, stay busy or just relax, whatever helps you to keep a sense of self and internal peace.
Take It All In and Debrief. Sometimes, even when we let go of expectations, set boundaries, stop judging and give space there will be times when we still get overwhelmed, overheated, frustrated or just flabbergasted. It is OK. Step away, bring a trusted friend or family member and talk it out if needed. Don't let the negative self-talk or feelings bottle up until they explode. Deal with it in the moment and then let it go. Don't let stresses consume your time and put a limit on how long you need to talk it out with someone.
Being Alone is A-OK Too. Let go of the pressure of having to be with other people to celebrate any holiday. A lot of the tips above are to help generate positive interactions with people but if someone's holiday season is not cluttered with guests or outings then that is OK. Don't judge yourself if you have to work, or if you can't travel. Where you are and what you are doing do not need to be judged by you or others. Stay mindful of the moment and be at peace with yourself.
Shirley Ann Felder
As a mother, mentor, landlord, business owner, recycling fanatic who owned a garbage company that did over 60 million in sales, an international motivational speaker, and certified life coach with The Healthy Wealthy and Wise Organization, Shirley mastered the art of modern multitasking and diversification while helping people realize the Greatness in Ordinary! “You will never fail you, as long as you’re real.” As Shirley provides her audience with a candid perspective, blunt honesty and a dose of reality, whether talking about maximizing the potential of raw materials or nurturing the ordinary, she knows the benefits of authenticity when faced with adversity!